Despite improved efforts by a smattering of cities, efforts to reduce tobacco use have essentially ground to a halt in most cities in Los Angeles County, including those on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association.
The "State of Tobacco Control 2014" report called on cities across the state to renew their commitment to reducing tobacco use through policies restricting sales, providing smoke-free housing and limiting exposure to second- hand smoke.
The report assigned letter grades to cities across the state. In Los Angeles County, eight cities received an overall A grade—Baldwin Park, Calabasas, Compton, Glendale, Huntington Park, Pasadena, Santa Monica and South Pasadena.
Los Angeles received an overall C grade, earning five out of a possible 12 points.
Nearly four dozen cities in the county earned F grades—including the four cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula—with many of them earning zero points out of a possible 12. The points are assigned by a review of various tobacco-control policies, ranging from smoking restrictions at restaurants and public areas to smoke-free housing and restrictions on tobacco sales near schools and parks.
Palos Verdes Estates and Rolling Hills Estates received zero points. Rolling Hills received no points as well; however, data was not available for the majority of criteria because the city is so small.
Rancho Palos Verdes earned one point for its efforts to keep outdoor recreation areas smoke-free.
The report credited some cities making dramatic improvements in tobacco-control policies. It noted that Duarte jumped from a D to an F thanks to restrictions imposed on on tobacco sales. Whittier made a minimal gain, improving from an F to a D thanks to efforts reduce second-hand smoke in public areas.
"We are proud of the work being done in Los Angeles County to protect residents from the harmful effects of tobacco," according to Daniel Oh, chairman of the Lung Association's Los Angeles Leadership Board. "However, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S. We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of their health."
Statewide, the report gave California an A grade for its smoke-free air policies, but a D for having a low cigarette tax, an F for insufficient funding of tobacco-prevention and control programs and an F for poor coverage of smoking treatment services.
More than 60 percent of cities in the state received an overall F grade.
"The policies reflected in this report demonstrate the leadership at the local level to ensure that all Californians breathe clean and healthy air," according to Marsha Ramos, chair of the Lung Association's California Governing Board. "No matter how big or small the city or county, local tobacco- control policies save lives. Tobacco use continues to take a tool on the lives of both adults and kids, so these grades represent real health consequences."